All posts by Ashley Costanzo

Snack Smart

Snack Smart

This project was completed as part of my graduate coursework in the Human-Centered Design and Engineering program at University of Washington.

With childhood obesity on the rise, it’s important for kids to learn healthy eating habits early on. Unfortunately, busy parents struggle to provide healthy snacks for their kids, often choosing pre-packaged or processed foods over healthier options. As part of a User-Centered Design course at the University of Washington, my team decided to tackle this issue with the following problem statement as our guide:

How might we encourage time-limited parents to provide their school-aged children with healthier snacks?

Our goals for the project were to:

  • Identify some of the barriers to healthier food choices among school-age children, particularly during snack time.
  • Focus on the parents of elementary school children, as they are key to making healthier food available.
  • Promote good snack eating habits during the formative years of school-aged children.

Our process included:

As a designer on this project, I designed the Snack Smart branding and user interface and I worked with my team to design the interactions and overall experience of the app.

Snack Smart - Research phase

Snack Smart - Ideation

Snack Smart - Prototyping and User Testing

First complete prototype of HealthyMade


As part of the Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation course led by +Acumen and, I collaborated with a handful of UX designers to create a product that could serve to help low-income families eat healthier.

Throughout five workshops, our team learned to discover, ideate and prototype in an effort to answer the question “How might we provide healthier food options for people in need?”

We explored different ways of approaching the problem, spoke directly with potential users to understand their needs, and built low-fidelity prototypes to test out our ideas.

In the end, we created HealthyMade – fresh ingredients and recipes packaged together for a healthy, pre-planned meal. One HealthyMade box would have a set price (to be determined, but ideally around $10 for 4 servings) and three separate recipes would be available each week. The product could be packaged in stores and would include a rewards system where customers can receive a free meal box after a certain number of purchases. Each box would also include clear nutritional information and a recipe card for future use.

today-sliders-features redesign

The goal of the redesign was to increase user engagement and emphasize original editorial content. By incorporating the continuous consumption model,’s new design reduced navigational barriers and encouraged users to scroll through more content.

The changes to resulted in a large increase in overall user engagement, specifically pages per visit. Our team was also awarded with an EPPY for Best Redesign/Relaunch (with 1 million unique monthly visitors and over).



Powering A Nation: Motion Graphic

This piece was created as part of, a News21 project. Powering a Nation was conceived, reported and produced entirely by student journalists at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The 2009 team covered stories on a wide range of climate change related topics such as mountaintop removal in West Virginia, the food industry’s dependence on fossil fuels, and wind farms in Texas. Our work has won multiple awards from the College Photographer of the Year competition, the National Press Photographers’ Association and the Society for News Design.


The Loreleis: Philophony

The Loreleis, an all-female a capella group at UNC Chapel Hill, asked me to design the art for their  album Philophony (2010). I was especially eager to work on this project because it allowed me to use a bold, vibrant palette at a time when most of my projects focused on simple, clean infographics.